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Proportional Representation: definition and the 3 main variations

What is Proportional Representation? Who has it? What are the three main variations of PR?

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Proportional representation requires the electorate to vote for a party that best represents their political preferences and seeks to achieve representation by the proportion of votes received. Political parties are awarded seats based on their share of the popular vote. Most democratic countries in the world use PR as their electoral system. The most notable exceptions are Britain, The United States and Canada. Within the proportional electoral system theory there are three main variations: the simple list system, the single transferable vote PR system (STV), and the mixed-member proportional system (MMP).

The simple list system is one of the most straightforward types of PR, and as its name implies, the most simplistic. Under the list system, each political party contesting an election is required to compile a list of the candidates running. The amount of candidates on each party's list usually corresponds with the amount of seats available in the election. The lists are arranged in order of preference, as set out by the party. Usually the party leader will be first, potential cabinet ministers and popular politicians near the top, and lesser known candidates near the bottom. Generally, the positions at the top of the list are known as safe seats, meaning that the candidates are virtually guaranteed a ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an in-depth discussion of the concept of Proportional Representation. It explains, defines and presents the 3 main variations as well as the varied elements of each.